October 7th, 2015.
My only involvement with the Lupin the Third franchise is the Castle of Cagliostro film, which I wasn’t enamored with. My point is that I’m coming to this without any sort of emotional attachment, or much expectations, though I know as a franchise, this is quite well regarded. I don’t know if we’ll get episodic content or a longer story, but I expect a mixture of both as we follow Lupin’s madcap adventures.
Theme / Story:
This is very much an episodic. The rapscallion Lupin the Third, his friends, whom he doesn’t trust fully and who sometimes turn on him, the Detective Zenigata who’s a goof. It’s really about having fun. Episodic fun. Is there more to it? Perhaps there’ll be later on, but it’s mostly about the atmosphere for me, the irrepressible desire to just kick back, relax, and go on an adventure. Both for Lupin himself, and for us as watchers.
There’s not a lot of characterization going on here. Is it a case where we learn about the characters, a wee bit at a time, or a case where we’re supposed to know them from prior escapades? I feel the answer is actually different, that they’re “Characters”, and beyond their shticks, maybe we don’t need to know them all that well. We see enough of Lupin and the others because they’re very upfront about their motivations and actions, so we can just jump in and follow what is going on. What we see is what we get? Perhaps.
OP – This OP is a work of art. From the Jazzy music and the background singer calling out Lupin’s name, it really evoked the feel of 70s to 80s media, from Westerners to crime movies set in the USA. The transitions between shots, and the filters applied, also evoked this feel, and it all came together to not only be incredibly stylish and engaging, but to also evoke the sense of the era where the series takes place. At least if you’re a bit more familiar with media produced during those years.
ED – This ED is amazing. Aside from putting us in the right frame of mind of the show’s time-frame and atmosphere, it’s actually pretty great sounding. Just a nice Jazz piece. And then, on top of it, the visuals actually tell a story of a small Lupin III arc on their own, in seventy seconds. Someone should be given some sort of award for this. Give it a watch.
This show looks good. No, it doesn’t look sharp, or smooth, but it looks good. It looks and sounds like something straight out of the 70s and 80s, not just as a cartoon in general and anime series in particular, but I’m even reminded somewhat of the grainy presentation of shows such as Starsky and Hutch, and movies such as Dirty Harry. It also feels as if this show could’ve been airing at the same period of time when The Castle of Cagliostro came out (1979). The sound design was also pretty cool, with a mixture of soothing jazzy tunes and more upbeat music as things got hectic.
The elasticity of the cast, the physical humor, and the fluidity of the action, both in terms of atmosphere and design was a pleasure to watch. I can see many who would not appreciate it, and it doesn’t look as “tight” as some of the more modern offering, but I for one like it, and I know nailing this design this well is quite a feat. Besides, it reminds me of the cartoons of my childhood, and who can say no to that?